Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Enterprise

"Broken Bow"

***

Air date: 9/26/2001
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by James L. Conway

Regular cast: Scott Bakula (Captain Jonathan Archer), Connor Trinneer (Chief Engineer Charles Tucker III), Jolene Blalock (Sub-commander T'Pol), Dominic Keating (Lt. Malcolm Reed), Anthony Montgomery (Ensign Travis Mayweather), Linda Park (Ensign Hoshi Sato), John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox)

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You better be careful. I'm a lot bigger than you are." — warning from Captain Archer

In brief: A typical pilot episode — does a decent job introducing the concept and characters and comes with assorted pluses and minuses. Enjoyable, though not groundbreaking in any way.

"The Star Trek saga has a new beginning," say the taglines for the fifth series in the franchise — three of which have existed within the confines of just over the past two years. "Broken Bow" supplies the kickoff story that launches Enterprise, the vessel and the series. It's hardly a great or groundbreaking start, but it's not bad and works as escapist entertainment. It is, in short, adequate. Not too shabby.

I might as well confess that reviewing a pilot episode can be sort of like shooting in the dark. It wasn't easy last year when I had Andromeda's "Under the Night" in front of me, nor is it here, where all of Star Trek is essentially starting over from ground zero — a "new" ground zero that has so far been left unexplored by the canon material. Also, analyzing the level of success of a pilot that aims for general entertainment has to be gauged on those more general terms. A certain amount of scrutiny for significance will have to come later.

Which is not to say "Broken Bow" is insignificant. I suppose it just wasn't as significant as I had hoped. It's sold more as an hour of conventional, mainstream, escapist TV for the middlebrow masses than as a show that takes new risks or fills in the questions many of us might be wondering about when it comes to the early days of Starfleet, living apart from a Federation that doesn't yet exist.

Does "Broken Bow" get the job done? On its bottom line, yes. Am I blown away? No. Do I like the Star Trek prequel concept? Yes, but as we've seen before, concept is only part of the equation; what's done with that concept it the rest.

The title refers to Broken Bow, Oklahoma, where a bizarre incident takes place in the show's opening minutes: A Klingon is running through a cornfield where he lures two mysterious aliens (who have a weird ability to stretch and compress their bodies) into a silo. He then blows up the silo, killing the two aliens, before being shot by the farm owner and turned over to the authorities in critical condition.

Most humans have never seen a Klingon before. "It's a Klingot" says a Starfleet official (perhaps too obviously ignorant), who is quickly corrected by his Vulcan counterpart. The wounded Klingon, named Klaang (Tommy "Tiny" Lister), becomes a crucial element the story hinges upon: Returning him to the Klingon homeworld, Kronos, would be a worthy mission that might coincide nicely with Starfleet's planned launch of its new warp five-capable starship, the Enterprise NX-01, which has the ability to timely reach other worlds where previous starships could not.

The ship's captain is Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), son of Henry Archer (Mark Moses in flashback sequences), the man who designed the Enterprise's engines. For his entire life Archer has dreamed of realizing his father's vision and taking the ship on its maiden voyage, but standing in the way for decades have been the Vulcans, who believe humans aren't ready to face the delicate matters of interacting with others in the vast interstellar community.

One of these Vulcans is Sub-commander T'Pol (Jolene Blalock), who is quick to accuse Archer of human volatility, to which Archer responds, "You have no idea how much I'm restraining myself from knocking you on your ass." That's a glib cowboy line, which might be the point.

The events of "Broken Bow" take place in 2151, nearly 90 years after Zefram Cochrane's first successful warp flight as seen in Star Trek: First Contact (1996). One of the show's nicer moments is when it plays a historic speech by Cochrane that was recorded nearly a century earlier. James Cromwell has a cameo, reprising the role he played in the film five years ago. Trek fans live for these kinds of connections, and this is a nice one. Unfortunately, this may be the last real moment in "Broken Bow" where Trek die-harders who are interested in the history of Starfleet's foundation will likely find themselves awed by the mythos. We never get much information about how Starfleet itself came about. Much of the rest of the episode is the stuff of middlebrow action/adventure.

Except, I guess, for one element — namely, the Vulcans. I must say that I'm particularly leery about the way the show depicts the Vulcans. In short, they're not supplied the dignity the Trek universe has typically given them and are instead shown as stodgy bureaucratic obstacles without a well-reasoned point of view. This makes them almost look like quasi-villains, which is unnecessary and could've been avoided if there were better motives supplied for their constant skepticism. Conflict is nice, but conflict is better when it's well reasoned through more than one point of view (witness the Sisko/Kira tension of the early DS9 episodes) rather than forced by the mechanics of the plot. The way "Broken Bow's" early acts play out make the Vulcans look like they're being pains in the ass for pains in the ass' sake. Not enough is done to suggest that maybe the Vulcans are right — that humans aren't completely ready to contend with all the issues that face them out in deep space. But perhaps better understanding of such issues will grow from T'Pol becoming first officer on Archer's ship, where she serves as official liaison between Starfleet and the Vulcans.

Archer's crew is your typically diverse Trekkian bunch; in keeping with the Trekkian tone, the regular characters are represented by actors of assorted racial/national/regional background. That's great, but unfortunately for "Broken Bow," several of these characters fade into the background and come across as pretty bland.

As expected, we get a good dose of Archer and T'Pol and their head-butting. Character #3 in the pilot's importance hierarchy is Archer's friend and chief engineer Charles Tucker (Connor Trinneer), who comes equipped with a direct, "straight shooter" mentality and a mild Southern drawl. There's also linguist Hoshi Sato (Linda Park), a.k.a. the Asian Chick; helmsman Travis Mayweather (Anthony Montgomery), a.k.a. the Black Guy; armory officer Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating), a.k.a. the Brit, and Outside Human Perspective Alien Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley), a.k.a. the outside-human-perspective alien.

I jest, but several of these characters are plot vessels and largely come across as boring. Sato is the story's frightened, green character (hopefully not Harry Kim Redux), jumping with every strange noise on the ship. Mayweather was raised on cargo vessels but that's about all we learn, unless we're particularly amused that he experienced firsthand that the women of one particular species "have three." Phlox is a somewhat-chatterbox who resembles a Garak/Neelix love-child and has an eccentricity that initially borders on annoying (thankfully Archer seems to notice this too). Reed is ... well, I have no idea, because the story doesn't spend more than a minute on him outside the action. Aside from Archer, T'Pol, and Tucker, none of these characters have any fresh edge. Time will tell if they'll get better development.

My first impression on the main actors here: I like Bakula, who exhibits conviction and comes across as a natural leader and anchor for the show. Trinneer works well with his contemporary take on Tucker. I'm less enthusiastic about Blalock (a.k.a. "Vulcan of Nine"), who seems here like a Seven clone but not nearly as effective an actor as Jeri Ryan, though it will be some time before any real verdict can be placed on her, or anyone else for that matter.

The Enterprise's mission takes the vessel on its course toward Kronos. Along the way they run into some strange new aliens called the Suliban, a race bent on extreme genetic alteration for their betterment. The Suliban invade the Enterprise and kidnap Klaang, who was apparently made aware of a plot the Suliban had to undermine the Klingon Empire. Subsequently, Archer follows the clues to a nearby world to investigate Klaang's kidnapping in hopes of retrieving him. Archer is met by a female Suliban operative named Sarin (Melinda Clarke), an ally of Klaang, who explains the Suliban Sinister Plot [TM] to Archer in one of those back-alley conversations that's destined to shortly become the landscape for a sudden outbreak of violence.

Apparently part of the Suliban, the Cabal, is willing to go very far in the interests of "self-improvement" via genetic engineering. Sarin is among the Suliban who oppose that group (i.e., one of the "good guys"). She is subsequently and quickly killed when Suliban Cabal operatives open fire in this alley. Lesson #1: As a guest character, once you've served your purpose in a plot like this, you'd better duck down quick, because you're expendable and especially vulnerable to gunfire.

With new information, Archer & Co. follow warp trails to a planet where they believe the Suliban have taken Klaang. This scene, alas, is heavy on the technobabble that Berman & Braga have been promising Series V would be devoid of. Funny how a Starfleet admiral calls it a "Klingot" and yet no one on this relatively young crew has trouble deciphering starship jargon.

One aspect that will certainly have to set this series apart from the other Trek shows will be its more limited technology. In "Broken Bow" the transporter exists and is supposedly safe, but it's still somewhat feared; no one wants to actually go through it themselves. Also nice is that the Universal Translator is not as magical a device as in the previous series, hence the need for a skilled human interpreter. And we have grappling hooks in place of tractor beams. But with the lesser technology comes an even more emphasized responsibility for the writers to steer clear of worthless technobabble.

Of course, any review of "Broken Bow" would be remiss if not to mention one of the most transparently gratuitous exploitations of shallow sexuality in the Star Trek canon — a moment that redefines the term gratuitous. I'm referring, of course, to the "decontamination scene" involving T'Pol and Tucker. The scene's motives are so obvious it will have many viewers rolling on the floor: T'Pol in a tank-top showing her midriff and with Visible Nipple Action. Jolene Blalock may be this series' Unabashed Hottie Presence, but this scene is beyond shameless.

It draws so much attention to itself that all dialog in the scene becomes irrelevant, because the dialog is no longer the point (and we can't hear it over our own groans and snickers anyway). My thoughts here apply logic, probably futilely: We as viewers know what the point of this scene is. The writers know what the point of this scene is. The actors and director know what the point of this scene is. And yet we have characters who seem completely oblivious to the sexual element, as if it's not part of the equation here at all. Come on, people! It's an insult to our intelligence, somewhat mitigated only by how funny and blatant it is. I guess anything goes in the name of demographics, but at least make your gimmicks halfway plausible. Jeri Ryan never endured a scene in this spirit that was quite so absurd.

It's worth noting, however, that Enterprise believes in Equal Opportunity Sexual Exploitation: Tucker appears shirtless with boxer shorts in the decontamination scene, and later we also get Archer in boxers (which makes more sense in context considering he's lounging privately in his quarters).

Overlong digression. Anyway: If sexuality is still handled as a relentlessly juvenile enterprise on Trek, then I should hasten to point out an obvious strength that Enterprise will certainly have going in its favor, and that's the visuals and production design. This is a visually striking show, with top-notch production values, sets, and special effects — a feature-film look that maybe surpasses even Voyager in its vision. I liked the Suliban space station, composed of hundreds of individual pods connected to a core. Even the worn-out phaser fight idea manages to work better because it takes place on a roof during a snowstorm, seemingly giving the scene more space to breathe.

Maybe somewhat less effective is when Archer ends up in an elevator filled with flashing strobe lights. I call this elevator the Rave Room. And once the elevator stops, Archer steps out into another room that exhibits some sort of temporal delay effect. He walks into this room and waves his hand around in the weird atmosphere; I'm thinking he's on ecstasy or some other mind-altering substance, like many others before him who have just stepped out of a rave.

The plot doesn't resolve with great insight its strangest element — that of a "temporal cold war." What the hell is that? Not sure, but the Suliban are involved; we learn that they use this weird room to talk with people (who is uncertain) from the future and alter events by changing the past. Does this portion of the plot make sense? Not so much, because it's been reserved — or at least I hope — for future storylines.

Also of scant development are issues involving Earth's current role and the Enterprise being granted its continuing mission after the successful mission to return Klaang to Kronos. What is this lone ship's role in the galaxy? If there are problems, who will help them? Is Starfleet building any other ships? What will be Starfleet's general campaign in space travel? What are the Vulcans' interstellar role at this point in time? Why in the world were two Suliban and a Klingon running around Earth? For that matter, how far have humans traveled prior to the Enterprise launch? Freight-ship workers like Mayweather have apparently gone farther than a lot of people who have been sitting around in Starfleet, but I'm not sure who has seen what, or how far out here humans have been.

For the sake of comparison, it's my opinion that "Broken Bow" is not as engrossing as the other recent Trek pilot stories. "Emissary" (DS9) and "Caretaker" (Voyager) both had superior pilots that did better jobs of establishing their entire casts. "Emissary" had emotional notes of internal struggle (Sisko's angst) and genuine exploration of new ideas (first contact with non-linear lifeforms), while "Caretaker" had an immediate goal (bringing together two crews in the wilderness to get home). "Broken Bow" is generic exploration and more simpleminded adventure. It's about those who Boldly Go, but without many underlying complexities.

Enterprise, by the definition of its concept, has promise. Humans have a new, less jaded, and more wondrous (we hope) perspective concerning space travel compared to all Treks since The Original Series. There's the possibility to see how the building blocks for the as-yet-nonexistent Federation will be laid, which could be fascinating for long-time fans and newbies alike. The pratfall in this concept, of course, comes not simply with the obvious potential of demolishing existing continuity in the Trek canon, but in the difficulty in keeping Trek itself fresh and exciting. Rearranging timelines and giving the saga a "new beginning" is not all it will take to create a series that seems fresh. The attitude, climate, and characters must be sustained through solid stories that feel new on their own merits, not simply because they're recycled stories filtered through a new perspective (though the new perspective will help).

"Broken Bow" is a fun start, featuring a sharp look, efficient and effective direction by James L. Conway, a workable (if uninspired) story for a general audience, and a promising concept. Now it's time to use it.

Note: The opening title sequence is appropriate given the premise, featuring clips of various ships (of all types) named Enterprise, as well as video clips of progressive stages of space travel. The theme, by Diane Warren and performed by Russell Watson, is a rock song that's acceptable but might tire more quickly than a traditional orchestral piece and is not as memorable as past Trek themes. The episode's music is a traditional score along the same lines of the last decade of television Trek, composed by long-time Trek composer Dennis McCarthy.

Next week: Our new crew finds its first ship full of alien corpses.

Next episode: Fight or Flight

Season Index

35 comments on this review

Josh - Tue, Oct 9, 2007 - 1:29pm (USA Central)
I'm in full agreement with you on this review, although I did enjoy Broken Bow more than Caretaker. The effect shots were particularly good in this episode, and throwing in shots like the ascending elevator were a nice touch, even though it probably cost more money than it was worth. I just wish that some of the story threads started in this episode were wrapped up better.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Sun, Mar 22, 2009 - 10:59pm (USA Central)
Agree with your review completely Jammer. I rememuber how the pilot aired not too soon after 9/11 and the cast of Enterprise did all these patriotic vignettes. When I hear of the Suluban race - I thought Taliban right away (and was proven right when Braga confirmed it in star trek: the magazine - oh how I miss it!). I loved the opening song "Faith of the Heart" - though it did not feel Star Trekkish - it was appropriate to humanity taking baby staps. I remember how often I listened to that song at first. The show certainly had promise but was ultimately ruined by too much time travel and disrespect for the Trek timeline. I can never forgive the produceres for that...
Bad Horse - Tue, May 11, 2010 - 1:51pm (USA Central)
I've probably seen this episode 3 or 4 times, and yet I can't remember the plot to save my life. That can't be good.
Marco P. - Thu, Sep 2, 2010 - 2:31am (USA Central)
Agreed on the general assessment: 3 stars, does its job but nothing memorable.

And yes, most of the characters with the exception of Captain Archer, T'Pol and maybe Phlox are largely forgettable. Hell, I had a greater impression from the female Suliban they meet on Rigel (Melinda Clarke, the infamous "Lady Heather" from CSI) than anyone else in the Pilot.

By the way, I have to confess I am currently giving this series a second chance (many years after it first aired), after viewing two or three random episodes during its original run and never really "catching on". I am also doing so with the full knowledge that as far as Trek productions go, it is agreed Star Trek Enterprise was *not* a resounding success. Perhaps my interest is more of curiosity than expectation to see something memorable, who knows.

So far my impression is mixed, but I'm willing to stay on board for a few more episodes to see where this is going.
Cloudane - Sun, Apr 17, 2011 - 9:18am (USA Central)
I'm going to give this series a chance.. I never really got into it the first time around but we'll see.

Unfortunately I found this episode quite difficult to follow, maybe it's just me being useless but it just seemed to be diving straight into action with characters such as the wholegrain mustard-faces (Suliban) that I don't yet understand.

The translation issues are interesting and believable but also make me realise why they had the modern day "transparent" universal translator in the first place: it'll get tedious fairly quickly. I hope they eventually just upgrade the translators, it's a novelty at first but already needs to move on!

I remember last time seeing Tucker as an annoying gobby person like Voyager's Tom Paris (the more noticeable the accent/drawl the worse they get that way seems), but actually despite all the one-liners I eventually warmed to Paris when watching Voyager properly. Time will tell with ENT.

Dr Neelix - *shudder* :)

The sexual scene was hysterically bad! Gets the 16 year olds talking about it I suppose, but this hardly spawned a new generation of Trekkies did it.

Definitely the worst of the 5 pilots. It was alright I guess but far from inspired. Oh well, pilots are rarely great anyway. 2 stars makes more sense to me.
chris - Sat, Oct 1, 2011 - 4:20am (USA Central)
I agree with Cloudane, this was the worst of the 5 pilots. Just started Enterprise and while I am very curious to see what will happen, I kinda feel dissapointed already. The opening music theme is mediocre, Voyager's one is way better and heartwarming.

P.S.: T'Pol looks hot! :)
Paul - Mon, Oct 10, 2011 - 2:58pm (USA Central)
Worst of the five pilots? That's an interesting thought. 'Farpoint' was pretty bad, IMO. Troi was just unbearable, Riker was too stiff and Picard really wasn't Picard yet (too much of a disciplinarian).

Generally speaking, I thought Enterprise (like Voyager) mostly pissed away its potential -- but at least Enterprise had more of a valid reason. The fact that the show was conceived of (and partly produced) pre-9/11 made the early episodes seem kind of sleepy. To recover, the producers needed to veer well off course for season three -- which was the best season in my opinion but the least in keeping with Trek history.

And, I'll say it -- I think Bakula was the wrong guy for the roll. He was too informal in the first two seasons, and too all-business in seasons 3 and 4. I loved 'Quantum Leap', so I have no issues with Bakula as an actor. But he was not good in this series.
Cloudane - Mon, Oct 10, 2011 - 3:04pm (USA Central)
@Paul - all true about the TNG pilot (and Picard was outright unlikeable at first) but it had Q to make up for it.
chris - Mon, Oct 10, 2011 - 3:11pm (USA Central)
I am pretty sure that after 10 years from now I will still be remembering many details from the "Farpoint" and "Caretaker" episodes. I can't tell the same for the Enterprise first episode.

As for the intro I mentioned above, it started to grow up on me and now (after 8 episodes I have watched) I love it :)
Cloudane - Tue, Oct 11, 2011 - 7:06am (USA Central)
We must be the only two people on the internet who don't hate the intro :)

I like it as well. My only criticism is that it doesn't show the character names with the actor names, but you eventually get to know who's who anyway.
Michael - Fri, Oct 21, 2011 - 7:00am (USA Central)
I saw a few episodes of Enterprise 5-6 years back but was moving around a lot so never got into it back then. I'm trying again now.

This was an okay show. The last third of it happened way too quickly and left many ends untied. The personages involved, like others noted, were transient, but I can already tell that Dr. Neelix (hehehe - good one, Clo!) is going to be a pain. And that English guy... - is anybody actually going to speak like that 150 years from now!? The token African American, check. (He's actually my favorite character thus far.)

But the MOST annoying bar none were the soft sex scenes. First the alien chick sensually Frenches el Capitan. For a moment I thought I was watching T.O.S. where Kirk the Megaballs humped his way through every galazy they passed. Then that pathetic sequence where the Volcan broad and the hunk (who is he again? - can't be bothered to find out) rub gel all over each other. It was so contrived and cheap it actually had me rolling my eyes. I got a twenty that says those two are gonna bump uglies somewhere down the line.

Anyway, yeah, I can live with the pilot :)
Michael - Fri, Oct 21, 2011 - 7:06am (USA Central)
Oh, and I'm guessing the pooch gonna have the same pivotal role that coffee had with Janeway.

I see it developing into Enterprise's answer to Naomi Wildman or Wesley of T.N.G. I'm sure the doggy is as precocious as those two, if not more! LOL!!
Tom - Tue, May 1, 2012 - 1:29pm (USA Central)
I want all star trek fans to see this. As an avid star trek fan I almost cried with laughter after I saw it. It is a blog that shows photos Of people in northeast philadelphia that have the exact same haircut as Spock. check it out you wont be disappointed spocksighting.blogspot.com
Paul York - Sat, May 12, 2012 - 12:25pm (USA Central)
T'Pol: "you humans claims to be enlightened and yet you still consume the flesh of animals."

I could not agree more. Eating animals is barbaric and unenlightened: it causes horrible suffering, global warming, water depletion, and causes heart disease and cancer in our bodies. It is unnecessary. The Vulcans are correct. It is shocking and disgusting that Archer and the other guy are eating dead cows. Also disturbing is that the doctor in this episode has live animals in his lab, in small containers, exploited in various ways. Fortunately by the 24th century the exploitation of animals no longer occurs, as Riker notes in one of TNG's episodes. Moral evolution is more important than technological evolution and the latter cannot safely occur without the former. This fact is proved time and again in the ST scenarios with Picard, Janeweay, et al run into aliens who regard them as "inferior" and try to experiment on them. The same danger is present for other species that humans might encounter, based on human exploitation of other species and races and cultures in its history. Why doesn't the majority of humanity grasp that basic moral lesson? It's sad that the humans in this story don't even want to understand the basic moral lessons that the Vulcans are there to share with them. I agree with the Vulcans: humans are not ready for the responsibility that comes with space travel and dealing with other species. Eating and imprisoning non-humans who have less power proves the Vulcan point.
Paul York - Sat, May 12, 2012 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
I have to agree with Michael re: the gratuitous use of sex. This really degrades the show, which is supposed to be about exploration and the broadening of humanity's borders. Instead it comes off as a B movie, with all the sex and violence. The only redeeming theme is the idea that humanity is expanding itself through interaction with other species; unfortunately that interaction looks like a dime novel from the 30s with alien bad guys and voluptuous women. What about portraying humanity encountering Vulcan philosophy or Klingon mysticism or Bolean customs? Why do television producers always insist on catering to the lowest common denominator of the masses -- not unlike Roman colluseums? Why show Rigel 10 as little more than a strip bar? What a cliche! I hope that if humanity ever does have a first contact situation (though mathematician Paul Davies calculates it as highly improbable) that the exchange proves more than laser fire and french kisses and body rubs or experimenting on them or them experimenting on us or forcing us into forced labour camps, or exploitative mining operations that entail ecological damage (e.g. on the Horta home world).
Paul York - Sat, May 12, 2012 - 1:43pm (USA Central)
Someone above mentioned the Farpoint episode - that it was more memorable than this one. I have to agree, because of the moral lesson it conveyed: do not exploit other sentient beings (in this case galactic jellyfish). This was a very animal rights / alien right / human rights message, very worthy of a first episode and first space mission both. The sexism and speciesism of this episode illustrate the fact that moral evolution is not necessarily cumulative: humanity can regress, as apparently the producers of ST have done within the space of a few years between TNG and Enterprise.
Strider - Tue, Jul 10, 2012 - 7:44pm (USA Central)
I've only ever watched TOS, so this is my first non-TOS show. I've never really been interested in the other series. I don't know about this one yet...

I don't like how the Vulcans are portrayed. Where TOS Vulcans are reserved, these Vulcans are disdainful. T'Pol is the worst, until the magical gel episode, and suddenly she's all warm and fuzzy. And I don't understand how she can take command of the ship. Her "Vulcan" rank is higher than Tucker's Starfleet rank? So what? It's a Starfleet ship!

And is there a crew on this ship besides these half dozen or so? I just don't know about this one. I might go back and just watch TOS again.

Also, meat is delicious. I think I'll go have me some now.
Elliott - Tue, Jul 10, 2012 - 9:32pm (USA Central)
@Strider: I suggest you try watching the series in the order they debuted. Watching ENT after TOS is liable to give one whiplash. I'd say VOY is the most philosophically consistent with TOS and TNG the most æsthetically consistent.
Tiarfe - Wed, Oct 10, 2012 - 6:17pm (USA Central)
At the second attempt to watch this pilot I still did not like it but did finish this time. One reason I had difficulty watching is I don't like Scott Bakula as Captain Archer. His demeanor, attitude, and language seems forced. T'Pol and the overly pouty mouth is distracting.

The other characters might grow on me but didn't catch my attention much.

On the positive side of T'Pol I can imagine that she was chosen for the character because of her although striking yet dead emotionless eyes (great for portraying a Vulcan) and her great figure.

Other than that, I wasn't really impressed with the pilot plot.

I did enjoy the Klingons!

I also love the puppy!

John (the younger) - Fri, Nov 2, 2012 - 1:09pm (USA Central)
I pretty much agree with Jammer on this one except I think 3 stars might be a fraction high. Kudos primarily for the production values.

Worst pilot of the 5? Please, this isn't even close to the supreme crapness that is 'Farpoint'.
Patrick - Fri, Nov 2, 2012 - 5:03pm (USA Central)
"Farpoint" for all its flaws, is at least memorable and has hell of a lot of verve to propel into the realm of TV history. Despite the silliness, there's a lot to like. There's some magic there.

"Bow" on the other hand is a 2 hour slog, with a forgettable plot where mankind's first interstellar adventuring in the 22nd century is treated like a ho-hum affair, where our protagonists should be agog with wide-eyed wonder. Instead they're practically sleepwalking.
John (the younger) - Sun, Dec 2, 2012 - 11:00pm (USA Central)
I dunno. I think the fact that it was made over 25 years ago, was the first new Star Trek episode on tv for almost 20 years and there were very few other space sci-fi shows around at the time are the main things that give it any 'magic'.

Was it more significant than Broken Bow? Of course. Was it of better quality, even for it's time? For me, no.
Cail Corishev - Tue, Jan 8, 2013 - 11:45am (USA Central)
I'm finally watching this series, more for completeness's sake than anything else, having seen all the others. So I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this episode quite a bit.

Bakula was great as an aging quarterback in Necessary Roughness, and he fits well here in the same kind of role as the leader of a group of younger (or at least younger-looking and -acting) people.

The Vulcans don't make much sense. In First Contact, the Vulcans showed up to welcome humans into the fraternity of spacefaring races as soon as they developed warp drive. Why? Sure, it gives them a chance to counsel patience, but why show up at all and reveal that there's so much out there to find? Why not just blast the thing out of the sky, or capture it and make it disappear? They seem awkwardly caught between wanting to keep humans bottled up so they don't run around making a mess of the galaxy, yet not willing to take charge and simply cordon off Earth with mines for a century or so. Also, why give them info in drips and drabs so they have to go exploring blind and run into who knows what, when they could give humans a map to all the safest planets and let them use that for training wheels? Make up your minds, guys.

After watching this episode, I think I felt like it had more potential than I felt after Caretaker. It's hard to compare fairly, since I know what Voyager did with its potential, and I don't know anything about this show except that it was cut short. But after Caretaker, I pretty much knew where Voyager was headed and what sort of things it had to say. The ship was going to fly across the galaxy and have adventures along the way. It had Big Important Points to make about things like women being in charge and applying Federation values in extraordinary situations. With a couple exceptions -- the Borg being the largest -- you could see the stories lining up early on: dealing with scarcity beyond the frontier, the redemption of the bad boy in Paris, the difficulty of mixing two formerly enemy crews, the doctor following in Data's footsteps in his quest for humanity, and so on. There weren't apt to be too many surprises, and there weren't (except for how quickly some of those potential issues were glossed over).

This show, even though it's considerably constrained by future canon, feels more open-ended. I don't know where they're going, and next show they could be half quadrant away or back at Earth for repairs, so it's more like TOS or TNG in that way. Most of the characters seem more bland, but also less caricatured than Voyager's. Voyager almost did too good a job of introducing the characters, and since there was little growth, there was no need to learn much more about them after Caretaker. With Archer's group, I'm still looking forward to that.

And yes, the "shower scene" was so bad I was embarrassed for T'Pol when she's standing there at the end with nipples at attention, waiting for the director to say cut. It's one thing to write the scene and then to shoot it, but how does that get edited and printed and no one ever says, "Wait, isn't this way over the top? Do we really want to insult our viewers' intelligence this much?"
Nebula Nox - Sat, May 4, 2013 - 6:45pm (USA Central)
I agree that Farpoint is easier to remember. But that is only because it was so awful.
Moonie - Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - 6:36am (USA Central)
Confusing plot!

I am just now starting to watch ENT, and I admit I was probably biased against it from the start because I heard bad things about it and I don't particularly care for Scott Bakula. Then I heard the theme song and it got even worse. I found it extremely cheesy at first. The crew - forgettable, bland.

After watching the two following episodes, the whole show started to grow on me, even the theme song. I like it now :-). I gave Broken Bow another chance and still think it's mediocre, but not as awful as I first thought it was. Archer and the somehow "untidy" look of the old Enterprise took some getting used to.

There were a few scenes I hated though. Archer's little line about knocking T'Pol on her ass or something. Terrible. And when he and Trip have dinner with T'Pol and of course the must have a big steak. The humans DO come across as pretty immature. I hope it gets better.
Jack - Tue, Dec 3, 2013 - 3:28pm (USA Central)
I totally concur with the psote above that siad, though they like Bakula, he was just totally wrong in this role.
NoPoet - Mon, Dec 16, 2013 - 2:50am (USA Central)
There can be no greater insult to a pilot episode than to compare it to the unbelievable arse that is Encounter at Farpoint. Extremely hammy acting that is put to shame by children's cartoons; one embarrassing scene after another; the already cliched superior being judging humanity; dialogue that makes my ears fill up with wax to protect my mind from the utter crapness. TNG started off more poorly than any show I've ever seen and didn't get good for years. Broken Bow looks like a masterpiece next to Farpoint.
Cloudane - Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - 6:17am (USA Central)
Some relatively spoiler-free protips for those starting this show:

- Don't put your expectations sky-high of super deep meaningful prequel-ness (though there is some here and there) - expect something more like Voyager with hull plating instead of shields and you won't be too disappointed

- Yes, Archer is a boorish idiot with no diplomacy or positive leadership skills and whoever made the decision to make him captain of Earth's flagship would probably have made Neelix chief engineer and put Odo in charge of sickbay. Get used to it.

- Don't worry too much about "oh no, they screwed up the Vulcans and now they're horrible jerks". Remember, this is a prequel. If you enjoy the show otherwise, then keep watching.

- Porthos is best character and totally steals the show.
Paul - Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - 11:34am (USA Central)
@Cloudane:

It's clear the creators really dropped the ball with Archer. He's either too informal (as he was in the first season) too incompetent (as he was in season 2) too angry/focused (season 3) or too all over the place (season 4).

I like Scott Bakula, but I think he made a lot of poor acting choices that made Archer come across as far too petulant. There are moments with him that work -- "Shockwave Part I", the Vulcan trilogy -- but generally, he was probably Star Trek's weakest captain.

Still, I think Enterprise (other than season 2) generally was a better SERIES than Voyager.

Enterprise at least made use of its premises. The first season was about humans first explorations into deep space. The third season was about finding the Xindi and stopping the final attack on Earth. The fourth season was about humanity finding its role among space-faring races.

Voyager probably had better actors (only Trinnear and Billingsley were ever really good on Enterprise) and Voyager probably had more good standalone episodes. But, as a series, Enterprise was stronger, IMO.

Other than Voyager's second season -- which failed because of poor execution -- there was never a concentrated effort to show the Voyager crew dealing with the situation they were in. Nearly all of Voyager's adventures could have happened in a remote part of the Alpha Quadrant.

But very few of Enterprise's missions (especially outside of season 2) could have taken place in another series.
NCC-1701-Z - Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - 9:28pm (USA Central)
I'm about 10 minutes in and I'm cringing at how they've ruined the Vulcans and turned them from one of Trek's most fascinating (pun intended) races into a bunch of arrogant self-righteous jerks just to artificially amp up the tension factor. I'll keep watching but so far not very impressed.
Moonie - Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - 11:04am (USA Central)
Ye, the way the Vulcans were portrayed, really pissed me off. I wasn't going to let that stop me because I more or less want to watch everything Star Trek. So I try to ignore what I don't like - portrayal of the Vulcans, the occasional continuity blunder or Archer's behavior. I still find enough things I like. I like Trip, Phlox and Hoshi, and at this point in my ENT adventure, I've just seen three great episodes in a row (Jammer gave them 3,5 and 4 stars so it's not just me ;-)), so it's definitely growing on me. I've just finished season 7 of TNG, and that really wasn't all that great either.

The relationship between Archer and T'Pol gains more depth as the series goes on.
skadoo - Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - 5:01pm (USA Central)
Well, with all of the ENT bashing out there I liked this more than I feared I would. I'm not sure I liked any of the pilot episodes of ST. But generally I've enjoyed the series. So either way I'm looking fwd to more. Jammer pointed out all my problems with it. I'm rarely a fan of gratuitous scenes.
sandy - Wed, Jun 4, 2014 - 2:45pm (USA Central)
I thought broken bow was great, ive watched all the star trek series and films,the special effects and realism was by far better than any thing we had seen before, the characters were more believable than in other series, even the decontamination scene i enjoyed, i focused on trineer, very nice eye candy, im pissed the cancelled the show, ive only just seen them and would like to see more, were was i between 2001-2005, cant remember them being aired here in the uk, i do think they should have centred more on trineer and balock in seasons 1 and 2. Im actually really pissed that we didn't see the rise if the federation, the books are good but would like to see them on screen, archer was a very believable captain except for a night in sickbay which was bringing cbs please bring them back. Long live trip.....

Yanks - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 - 8:24am (USA Central)
I never saw Enterprise as it aired. I bought the series in early 2006. The unabashed criticism of this series is unbelievable.

I enjoyed Broken Bow. I would rank it below Emissary and Caretaker but above Encounter at Farpoint.

Something else that confounds me is the holier than thou criticism of the decon scenes. Trek now isn't allowed to be sexy? This procedure makes sense as a precursor to the transporters detecting and filtering everything harmful out. It's not like they just threw the gorgeous female in there by herself, lots of equal screen time for males and females here. It’s seems very progressive.

I was impressed with Backula from the start. He’s better at being a “Captain” out of the gate than any of the spin-off Captains.

Personally I wish they would have not gone out to space so soon. I would have preferred to have seen more the struggles we saw in in First Flight to open the series.

Love all members of the cast. Nice to see Vaughn Armstrong’s face in a meaningful part in trek for a change. Great actor in my book. Also love how the Vulcan’s are different than we know them to be. Room for growth and back story there. Loved how Archer had to go get Hoshi.

Loved the new alien species as well. Just because we hadn’t ever heard of the Suliban doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. I’m glad we got to meet more “new” species as the series progressed as well as the old familiar ones.

The "look" of this series is AWESOME!. The attention to detail in the design of NX-01 is out of this world!

3.5 stars for me. 4 had they stayed home for awhile.
Boreals - Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - 8:16am (USA Central)
Enterprise is my favorite Trek series. I love the premise of humanity taking its first steps into the galaxy. My wife, who is not at all interested in scifi, actually enjoyed Broken Bow. The theme song is uplifting and hopeful, and speaks of our potenial as individuals and as a species. Is the show perfect? No. But it's a lot of fun, espevially for someone who isn't a Trekker.

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